Would anyone have made a mechanical, or electronic camera for their computer or robot ?

Parameters Of The Question

  • As a home-project [ Although, any example of a mechanical-tv-camera or mechanical-digital-camera interfaced to a computer or robot would be interesting ]
  • From 1970 ( or anytime ) - 1984
  • A camera that would allow the computer or robot to extract information from the image
  • There already is a thread about RAM chips used an an image-sensor, so I'm more interested in other types of home-made electronic-cameras and mechanical-cameras.
  • Before solid-state-tv-cameras, they were mechanical, with a mechanical-scanning-mechanism and a minimal number of photoelectric-sensors, people may have found these easier to build and interface to a computer or robot
  • Obviously hybrid examples of electronic-mechanical-camera are welcome, and any mechanical-scanning-device would have had an electronic component anyway
  • Still or moving image camera

AN INTERESTING EXAMPLE DESIGN - Imagine a cart-robot moving around a track ( like a diecast-car-racing-track, or slot-car-track but without swivelling, or a toy-train-track ), and on it's top the robot has an array of photo-electric-sensors( e.g.8x8 ), so when it encounters a sign above it, it can differentiate between a left-arrow, and a right-arrow, and activate an onboard-steering-mechanism to make a left or right turn at the crossroad where the arrow-sign is.

I thought that the original digital-cameras actually used mechanical-rotating-scanning methods, or rotating-mirrors, although I cannot find information on that, so I wondered if maybe some home-projects interfaced this to computers or robots.

NOTE - One Reason I Think This Question Has Not Been Answered Before On Retrocomputing ( Including The 'The earliest a home-computer or home-robot could be interfaced with a camera' Thread )
- I'm thinking that a mechanical-image-scanner( with photoelectric sensor / sensors ) may have been much easier to interface with computers/robots since they may not have needed the analog-to-digital-converter component, because, the computer could be what sends a pulse to the photoelectric-sensor / sensors ), and then the photoelectric-sensor does or does-not-return a pulse back to the computer, light dependent.

- I THINK THIS QUESTION IS NOT A DUPLICATE OF The earliest a home-computer or home-robot could be interfaced with a camera because I had intended that question ( NOW CORRECTED ) to refer commercially available tv-cameras or digital-cameras, not to home-made cameras, which is what this question is asking .

- This question is now almost invisible / non-existent due to being marked as a duplicate, because the link that appears on the main-page or as a search-result from within this website goes directly to The earliest a home-computer or home-robot could be interfaced with a commercially available camera?, only the link on that question goes to this question.

  • Actually, mechanical TVs went out of style pre-WW II. But there were vacuum tube based video cameras - electronic but not solid state - which were the norm for video cameras into the 1980s. That is, even after solid state electronics were used for signal processing (analog, but transistors rather than tubes), the actual image collection itself was done using tubes. May 29, 2019 at 1:24
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    I guess it would depend on what you call a camera or a robot. For example electric eyes (photoelectric cells) have been used to automate doors and other devices since the 1930's. For example this "robotic" wrapping machine: books.google.ca/…
    – user722
    May 29, 2019 at 4:05
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    Too young for your time-frame but I made an electro-mechanical scanner (2 decades ago) it was using single KP101 photo-transistor as a sensor and as A/D it uses RC charging time on digital gate. It had 2 motors one roll the paper and second move the head left/right similarly to printer. btw early autonomous robots did not have cameras on board as there where not enough processing power to process image. Instead they used IR sensors for obstacle proximity and ultrasonic sonars. I once build robot based on i8051 with 4 sonars, 2 wheels as a maze runner.
    – Spektre
    May 29, 2019 at 7:36
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    Back in the day, you could find an affordable surveillance camera based on a 1" vidicon tube and a C-Mount lens at your nearest surplus electronics shop or at a hamfest. I knew people who had such cameras interfaced to mini and microcomputers back in the day, but I have no memory of where or how they obtained the image-capture boards that connected the camera to the computer. May 29, 2019 at 14:41
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    It doesn't help. By now this Text is not only filled with ideas of the OP instead of reasonable questions, but also overrun by meta explanations which are neither really related nor helpful. Please stop arguing as part of the question. It'll automatically makes the question off-topic here. The right place to argue about questions being OT would be - if at all necessary - meta.rc.se.
    – Raffzahn
    May 29, 2019 at 22:10


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